One thing that's common amongst all architecture firms is the need to make as much profit as possible. But how can that be achieved? By actively seeking clients.
Unfortunately, the process of finding the right client isn't usually taught or shown in architectural schools. This makes it difficult for young architects to scale successfully during the first few years of their practice.
So, if you run a boutique or large architecture firm and looking to expand your reach, there are a few steps you need to stick to. Keep reading this article to find out more!
Note: If you would like help streamlining your architect business, try Bonsai. Our task platform has task management, time tracking, proposal, contract and invoice templates for architecture firms so you can manage your business better. Claim your 14-day free trial today.
The following are techniques that can help you get clients that will pay for your architecture services:
Before looking for new clients for your own firm, you must set some things in place. These include:
The website's name must be easy to read and showcases your firm's offers. This will make it more possible for your firm to pop up when people search for what you offer.
You want to make it easy for potential clients to contact you whenever they need your service. That's why business cards are essential; they improve branding and enable you to network with ease.
When you hand out your business card to prospective clients, they will most likely want to look up your website (if there's any). You don't want to miss the opportunity to sell your business by not investing in a good website.
It doesn't just stop at building a good website; you also need to ensure that it's well-optimized, responsive, and easy to navigate. You can also display your past work and your experience and skill level. That way, your potential clients will have an idea of what it feels like to work with you.
Also, you can include a section for blog articles. This will help educate and inform your website of the happenings in the architecture industry.
Many architecture firms tend to encounter internal obstacles that prevent them from increasing productivity and reaching their potential client. You don't want that to happen to you, and that's why lead generation is important.
To ensure that any marketing strategy is successful, you must try to hire a lead generation agency. The marketing team sets up campaigns to drive interest and attract residential clients looking to build from scratch or renovate small or big projects.
When pitching to a potential client, it is often necessary to show them your past work. If you are confused about how to go about this, you can create a well-organized portfolio gallery on your website to showcase your past and ongoing projects.
Although this is an efficient way of managing your portfolio, it can take some time to set up. This is where Bonsai comes in. Bonsai is a platform specially designed for freelancers and organizations, including architecture firms. Using Bonsai, you can quickly set up your portfolio and access easy-to-use templates.
Not just that, but you can also link your portfolio to other platforms like LinkedIn, Dribble, etc., to boost awareness and business development. In all, you want to display your work in the best way possible, consider employing the service of a professional photographer to take high-resolution photos of your work. That way, you can stand out from other architects.
You could be leaving lots of money on the table if your architecture firm is not yet on social media. By leveraging the media, you not only get access to a larger audience, but you can also use this medium to establish yourself as an expert in your industry.
Whether you choose to start on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, social media platforms allow you to explore your architectural marketing ideas, share information about your next project, and attract clients, as most firms do.
Once in a while, share testimonials from your happy clients. Positive reviews from past clients can convince prospects to initiate and strike profitable deals with your firm.
One other way to maximize social media is by implementing search engine optimization. This will help tailor your architectural services to land more significant projects. When done right, utilizing social media is one of the best marketing efforts that will surely bring in the desired results.
Note: the best way to manage clients is to use Bonsai's small business product suite. We have invoicing, contract, proposal, tax and task management tools to help you organize your clients and manage them. Try a 14-day free trial and see for yourself.
The need for networking in any business setting cannot be overemphasized. This technique has been around for decades and has proved efficient in identifying and securing potential clients.
Once you've established your own architecture firm and looking to get clients for new projects, it would be best to channel much effort into the networking aspect. Although this might seem like a long-term approach to acquiring and retaining the best clients, it can be highly advantageous.
An efficient way to network and acquire future business contacts is through one-on-one meetings. If you own an established construction company, consider setting up a team to help increase the firm's network.
Also, you can use the digital networking approach to rake in more business for your firm; spend time building your social media network by employing the suitable content writer and digital ads manager. Regularly, engage with your audience via the comment section, and don't forget to leave a prominent call to action.
Even though public speaking is a necessary aspect of business development, people dread being a part of it.
As an architect, you must understand that speaking about your area of expertise consistently gives people insight into precisely what you do and how you can improve their lives with it. That way, your target audience might begin to view you as an in-demand expert in your field, thus considering you for their future projects.
You can find these potential clients in most industry-related professional gatherings. Nonetheless, local architects are advised not to overlook small networking or religious groups, as it's easier to establish a genuine human connection in these places. For this to be effective, you may need to initiate and teach simple but valuable topics to the group.
Additionally, you can explore online speaking opportunities. That's because virtual events are fast becoming a thing. They cost less, require little to no logistics, and give you a chance to directly reach your ideal client in different parts of the world right from the comfort of your own home.
Being involved in various speaking engagements might not immediately convert more business deals for your firm. Notwithstanding, it can lead to new business opportunities in the long run.
After spotting and contacting your potential client, you want to proceed to the next stage as quickly as possible. By incorporating Bonsai, you can secure your next job seamlessly. Let's have a look below:
Recommended reading: Read our list of top architect apps to help you run your business. As your business grows, if you take advantage of these apps, they'll help you run your firm.
It's easier to capture all inbound freelance leads that come your way with the Bonsai contact form. All you need to do is make it available to any client that indicates interest in your services.
The contact form features blank spaces where clients would state the exact nature of their project. Whatever information they provide helps you draft the ideal contract template and monitor past and present clients.
When a client shows interest in employing your services for a project, the next step is to forward a proposal their way—this document details the project's requirements, pricing, and other essential information.
Thankfully, Bonsai also features ready-to-use architect proposal templates that will get you started. This saves you and the client more time, energy, and resources.
Bonsai also assists you in sorting out the financial aspect of your projects. These include generating professional-looking invoices right there on the app and automating payments via various means.
Once you nail down the proposal and kick off the contract, send an architect client questionnaire to better understand the project and your customer's needs.
To help you in your quest for clients, we have compiled a list of ten freelance websites you can use to land a steady stream of clients.
GoPillar is mainly designed for architects to showcase their skills and earn money. Here, clients get to post projects in the form of contests; freelance architects then get to complete this project and make a position on the leaderboard.
As a freelance architect on GoPillar, you get paid based on your position after the client has chosen the best design. Usually, 1st to 3rd position gets monetary reward which varies based on the project. However, this reward can sometimes extend to the 4th and 5th places.
Houzz is a home for creatives, especially interior designers and architects. Registering on this platform allows you to market your projects and find the right clients for your business.
Many architects have gotten some of their best projects on this platform; their earning potential is relatively high, with most of them charging an hourly rate of $200.
As expected, landing a client and establishing relationships on Houzz can be competitive. That's why freelancers are advised to stay consistent and ensure that they do an excellent job at all times.
This marketing platform mainly features animators, illustrators, web designers, and architectural designers. You get to organize your work in a portfolio format and apply for jobs posted on the platform.
Although architects who get jobs via this platform tend to work for other firms, many remote opportunities are still available. Being active on Dribble is an effective way to showcase your expertise and get people to notice you.
Adobe created this social media platform to help foster relationships between designers while also helping them find and get clients.
Aside from browsing through to pitch for positions you are interested in, you can also participate in "challenges" and watch educational videos to help you improve your skill.
Upwork is one of the latest freelancing websites receiving significant attention. The platform is designed to foster relationships between freelancers and their ideal clients.
You need to sign up, update your profile, set your hourly rate, and voila, you can start submitting proposals to job updates. Architects can thrive on this platform by marketing their skills and landing short-term or long-term gigs.
Toptal is a platform where expert freelancers get a steady flow of gigs. The screening process is quite challenging, fizzling out beginners and even intermediates. Hence, if you are starting, this might not be the best place to look for clients.
Regardless, if you are good at your craft, you can thrive as a freelance architect on this platform, earning as much as $4,800 weekly.
Fiverr is an excellent place for beginners to work and gain some relevant experience in their industry. Although many have claimed the platform is more focused on the buyer, freelancers might not get enough compensation for their work. This means you shouldn't expect to earn so much while on Fiverr, especially as a beginner.
It also features a space where you can access educational videos and teaching skills to help grow your skills. With these new skills, you can land more clients on the platform.
Finally, Guru is an equally freelance website for architects to land new projects. Like Upwork, Guru would help display your portfolio and boost your chances of finding clients.
Most freelancers on Guru are known to offer their services at much lower prices, thereby limiting their earning potential to $20 to $30 per hour.
To keep an architectural firm running, there is always the need for new projects. This article examined what you need to do to position your architecture firm for opportunities. Several factors determine how well these methods will work for you.
While any of these methods can help you get new clients, using Bonsai proves to be the most effective. That's because it features automated tools that make the entire process of onboarding clients easy. You can begin your journey with Bonsai today by signing up for a free trial today!
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?